Happiness is something we all are striving to obtain. Below is a list of things that people feel is affecting their happiness. Consider some of the circumstances that many people think affect happiness:
• Money – Wealth matters less than you might expect. People in wealthy countries (particularly democracies that allow a degree of personal freedom) tend to be somewhat more satisfied than people in poor or totalitarian countries, but even extreme poverty has little correlation with unhappiness. Strikingly, people whose main goal is money tend to be very unhappy.
• Marriage – Being married correlates strongly with happiness. National Opinion Research Center surveys find that roughly 40% of married people, but only 25% of unmarried people, are “very happy.” This correlation may not indicate causality. It’s quite possible that happy people are simply more likely to get married.
• Sociability – More sociable people tend to be happier. Very happy people spend more time with others. However, causality is again questionable; perhaps, others simply prefer to spend time with happy people.
• Bad feelings – Women experience more negative and more positive emotions. Only a very small negative correlation exists between pleasant and unpleasant emotions.
• Youth – Young age does not correlate with happiness. In fact, older people are somewhat more satisfied with life than younger people.
• Health – Even terminally ill people have roughly the same life satisfaction as healthy people. Severe health problems cause less unhappiness than you might expect. Happiness does seem to drop when people have five or more serious health problems.
• Education, weather, race and gender – These factors do not have more than a slight correlation with happiness. Interestingly, African-Americans and Hispanics are less inclined to depression than Caucasians, but they are not happier than Caucasians.
• Religion – Religious people are happier and more satisfied than irreligious people. One study found that people from the most conservative religions are happier than people from more liberal religions. To achieve happiness by changing your life circumstances: marry, think positively, make friends, help others, adopt a conservative religion and live in a reasonably prosperous democracy. However, in terms of becoming happy, statistically it does not help to earn more money, improve your health, get more education or move to a better climate.
Think about it!